Upon filing a tax return many people think little about income taxes or the Internal Revenue Service the remainder of the year. Imagine then just how disturbing it is to receive a phone call purportedly from the IRS, demanding additional payment. For approximately the past year, individuals throughout the nation have received such calls. The problem is, the calls are not legitimate. They are from individuals pretending to be from the IRS.
While some of these callers seek additional payments others are looking for information such as bank numbers. They may get that information by saying it is necessary to provide before a large refund can be issued. The scammers take the scam as far as they need to go for results. In some cases after a phone call ends the person will send a follow-up email confirming what they discussed on the call. In other situations, when a victim does not readily comply with the scammer’s request, the scammer may call back posing as the DMV or police, threatening to revoke their driver’s license or arrest them. With tactics such as these it is easy to see how some people could fall prey to the scammers.
The IRS first issued warnings about this behavior last fall. As the calls continue it is important that those on the receiving end have knowledge about the matter. The first thing to note is that the initial real communication from the IRS will not be a threatening or urgent phone call. Instead, it will be an official letter. In addition, a legitimate IRS agent will never:
- Insist that a consumer pay a debt via a specific payment method.
- Make threats about enforcement actions in cases where a consumer does not immediately make a payment.
- Seek bank account or credit card information over the phone.
Of course when the IRS legitimately contacts you regarding an income tax matter it is important to take steps to protect yourself. Contacting a lawyer with an income tax practice is a good place to start.
Source: CNNMoney, “Fake IRS callers take $5 million from victims,” Blake Ellis, Aug. 13, 2014